Alan Winslow: The blessings of global warmth and plenteous CO2

According to The British Medical Journal, “Cold weather is associated with nearly 20 times more deaths than hot weather.”

And Lancet, another medical journal, reports that for “every death linked to heat, nine are tied to cold.”

Take your pick. These data come during an alleged catastrophic global warming trajectory, alleged to be human-caused due to fossil fuel burning, alleged to be in progress these last 40 years or so and alleged to be leading to doom. But according to the data, cold spells remain far more harmful than hot spells.

Meanwhile, according to our modern news providers, extreme weather events and heat waves are worse than they’ve ever been. They say hurricanes are increasingly frequent and stronger by the year, as are tornadoes, bad storms, floods, droughts and forest fires.

But last century weather records prove that to be utterly untrue. Extreme weather was worse in the early and mid-20th century. It was hotter. Forest fires, droughts and severe weather were worse.

Even the data section of the IPCC climate report (a large UN global warming watchdog) agrees that we are not being impacted by worse weather events nowadays than prior years.

So, folks, take a deep breath. Maybe Mother Earth today is behaving normally with ordinary ups and ordinary downs in her long-term temperature and weather patterns. Maybe we could all call this, more sensibly, a phase of normal climate change variation and just relax a bit.

Still, is the Earth getting a little warmer? Could be. In fact, it appears to be almost 1 degree F. warmer today compared to 1980.

But must we define that as evidence of climate danger?

Clearly, a great many powerful people do. They insist that we recognize this minor temperature elevation as a warning that we’re on a path toward a global warming catastrophe.

But for some perspective, let’s dive back a bit into climate history, 1,000 and even 2,000 years ago. Did you know there was good and bad weather back then? And colder and warmer climates? And even some evidence it was warmer than today.

First, do you remember the Vikings from your world history class in middle school? The Vikings did not discover “Whiteland.” They discovered Greenland. Then they colonized it and farmed it, and not in the snow and ice. Imagine the Earth’s climate being warm enough to farm in Greenland. And for several centuries, the Vikings thrived on coastal areas of the world’s largest island.

Guess when they abandoned Greenland. When it turned into “Whiteland.” Yes, climate history reveals a Little Ice Age, lasting several centuries, prompted this colony of Vikings to return to fairer climates. The period when the Vikings populated Greenland is known as the Medieval Warm Period.

How about some further climate perspective?

Did you ever hear of the Roman Empire and Julius Caesar? If so, perhaps you also know of Hannibal, a Carthaginian general two centuries prior. Carthage and Rome were enemies and their period of conflict is known as the Punic Wars.

Therein it is recorded Hannibal attacked Rome during the Second Punic War, invading through the Alps with elephants. Over ice and glaciers? Not on your life. Again, climate change had generated another span of centuries we call the Roman Warm Period. The ice and glaciers had receded. Hannibal could mount an attack through a mountain range thanks to Earth’s climate cycling into another sustained period of increased global warmth.

Thus, over millennia, Earth has cycled between warm periods and cool periods, including some bitterly cool periods with glaciers over a mile thick.

But it is now argued the climate situation is far different. It is claimed we are in uncharted climate territory because of our enormous use of fossil fuels, the burning of which produces a greenhouse (heat-trapping) gas, CO2. The contention is the warming we have seen in the past 40 years is caused by the increased amounts of CO2 we are pouring into our atmosphere. And as we continue to increase CO2 levels, we’ll reach a point where CO2-induced out-of-control global warming will make Earth unlivable.

CO2, the guilty molecule

Today, CO2, a greenhouse gas, makes up about .04% of the atmosphere, an increase from .029% in 1880. A minor gas, CO2 makes life possible. No CO2, no plant life. No plant life, no animal life. Increase CO2 levels and plants become more plentiful and productive. Hunger is reduced. Lower CO2 levels and plants decline. Go below .02% and plants die. If plants die, we die.

And thanks to the 30% increase in CO2 concentration, mostly since 1960, the Earth’s green surface area is thriving and has expanded by 15% (an area the size of the United States), a particular blessing for the more arid and destitute regions of Earth.

What is the ideal concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere? Who knows? But comparing today’s CO2 levels to past levels, you might conclude we are experiencing a CO2 drought. In ages past, CO2 levels ranged up to 7% and Earth didn’t burn up. And there have been times when CO2 levels decreased and Earth grew warmer.

So what is the relationship between CO2 and warming in our climate system? It is this: CO2 does not control temperature. Influence it? Yes. Control it? No.

And this recognition should lead to a condemnation of those who base policies on a hoax: Saving the world from catastrophic global warming. And the policy based on this hoax, rapidly curtailing fossil fuels in favor of wind and solar energy is a compounding hoax and a cruelty to nearly 6 billion poor people who deserve our preferential option for reliable and affordable fossil fuel energy.

Thus, truth to the contrary, the greatest risk mankind and especially the poor and vulnerable face is not and never will be catastrophic global warming or climate change, but rather a demonic campaign to limit fossil fuel (and nuclear) energy development.

(Please herein credit the work of Judith Curry, Richard Lindzen, Stephen Koonin, Roy Spencer, John Christy, Willi Soon, Alex Epstein, William Happer and Patrick Moore.)

Alan Winslow, a resident of Seymour, occasionally writes a column for The Tribune. Send comments to [email protected].